Sunday, July 24, 2011


Our hydrangea bushes have finally bloomed!
About eight years ago we planted three blue hydrangea bushes in our front yard, and for years and years we didn't get one flower.  Someone suggested putting pine needles under them to add some acidity to the soil, so I tried that, among other things.  Not one bloom until.........  Two years ago, we got One Flower!!!  
One Total flower from the three bushes.  That's right, Not one each.   We Loved that flower.  We talked to that flower, we sang to that flower, we gloried in that One flower.
We watched it grow and at the end of the season I pruned it, and took the bloom inside.  Although it's a little crunchy and not as colorful, I still have it.  We thought - Finally - There's hope!  Maybe next year they will take off and we will have more blooms. Then Last year.... Well, not even One flower appeared!!  So much for all of those terrific tips I tried.  But This year.......... 

The glory has returned and all three have an abundance of beautiful blue blooms.
I found this great blog that's called HYDRANGEAS! HYDRANGEAS! that has suggestions on when and how to prune your hydrangeas for the best results.  I plan to check it out myself.  Maybe there's hope for next year....  But for now, we have a lot of singing to do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Second July Cup of Bead Soup Creation by Lori Anderson

Yes~!  This month jewelry designer Lori Anderson from Pretty Things is creating pieces from a variety of pendants and beads I sent her for her July Cup of Bead Soup!  One of the pendants I sent Lori is this dancing starfish pendant made from tan speckled stoneware clay.  The pendant was kiln fired to cone six, then glazed with my favorite shades of Coyote glazes - Turquoise Matt, Pansy Purple and Almost Teal, which really go well with this type of clay. I lightly glazed the starfish and raised portions of the waves in Shino, which really allows the details of the speckled clay and the natural design of the starfish to show through. 
The soup batch also included some of my matching stoneware beads in different sizes.  I was really looking forward to what Lori would come up with for a design.......

As it turns out, and not at all surprisingly, Lori designed this Amazing necklace with these beachy stoneware pieces...  I am so excited to see this finished piece Lori created. ~
It's so cool to have an another artist's eye on my work, and to see a totally different approach than I would have ever thought of, and to behold the finished results.  I just think the combination of Lori's wire work, the Vintaj pieces, floral bone beads, and antiqued brass chain links are a perfect combination with the stoneware beads.  A personal favorite highlight is how Lori used the smaller beads in the middle of the links combined with those sweet little wooden beads.  To finish the piece, Lori used some purple faux suede and gorgeous Vintaj clasp - which is genius and really also brings out the purple in the pendant!   For more details about this and Lori's Cup of Bead Soup process, please stop by Lori's blog ~
Coming later, Lori's creations from the Third batch of beads I sent her for the July Cup of Bead Soup

Don't miss fun!  Coming soon - the next Bead Soup Blog Party  ~ Sign ups are August 1-3  ~

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Results of Mother of Pearl Firing

Here's the results of last weekend's mother of pearl firing.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I glazed several pendants, beads and cabochons in various shades of greens, purples and corals.
Then, after the initial glaze firing, an additional coat of mother of pearl luster was applied. Which you can see in another previous post that the mother of pearl is dark blue before it's fired. This is how the pieces look after the mother of pearl firing:
It creates a luminescent shine, which makes for a very rich and opalescent appearance. 
It's not the best choice for everything, and I don't usually use it for my really detailed pieces such as snowflakes and autumn leaves for instance because it can detract or mottle the detail.
I do however think it's a good fit for my seashore pieces.
I've started to list these in my Clayworksnh Etsy shop, and will continue to throughout the next few weeks.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

First Showing of Lori's July Cup of Bead Soup!

Yesterday Lori Anderson of Pretty Things revealed the results of her work with the first group of beads I sent her for the July Cup of Bead Soup
Lori used the pendant I made from earthenware clay.
To achieve this raised detailed swirly leaf effect, I pressed the clay into a large floral stamp.  The pendant was then glazed with a mix of light and dark turquoise, medium blue, sky blue and blue green. I also sent Lori some ceramic beads made from white clay, glazed in matching shades of blue.
A third firing was done with mother of pearl which gives the pieces a rich, opalescent appearance. 
I was so excited to send these beads to Lori to see what she would do with them.  I love the idea of the net!  I think it's a perfect theme for these beads ~~
Lori used a piece of raw linen to get this "caught in the sea net" effect, and finished this catch with one of my ceramic toggles. I really like the way the beads are spaced, and choice of copper elements.  To learn more about Lori's process and the techniques she used on this piece, check out her post here:
Please share your thoughts, Lori would love to hear what you think. ~ I'll be in touch when Lori reveals the next group of beads!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

100 Facebook Fans!

A Clayworks by Lisa Boucher Facebook page landmark moment.  Very exciting!
If you missed it, I'm offering a $25.00 gift certificate in my Clayworksnh Etsy Shop to the most July referrals to my Clayworks Facebook page.  Please just have people let me know you sent them.  Thanks so much everyone for your support!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A little painting, a little yaking....

Ah, what could be more perfect....

For the Fourth of July we headed up to the family camp. Probably my most favorite place to be.
My idea of a perfect day is heading up there and spending the day enjoying the pond, and having time to relax which usually means creating.  Typically playing with clay or glazing. This time I packed up some earthenware bisque pieces, underglazes, bead racks, brushes and palettes.  I had them all set up nicely outside on the picnic table, and out of nowhere, came a flash of lightning.  So I moved everything on the porch...

I decided to bring anything but blue glazes, because I love blue so much it seems I've been going heavy in that direction lately.
So I brought only shades of salmon, pink, reds, corals,
lavender, lilac, amethyst, orchid,
bright green, avacado, blue green (ok that's the only blue - sort of), and light green.
After painting for a while, the storm passed over, and the sky cleared up again.
So I decided to take the kayak out for a spin around the pond.
There wasn't a soul out there except birds and some croaking frogs.
I'm always finding interesting plants out there, so I find it fascinating to stay close to the shore and see what's blooming.  This pink flowering bush caught my eye. My friend Lisa Amato Staten helped me identify it and it's called Mountain Laurel.
Apparently this pond monster has been out there for years, but it was especially noticable this trip. It was munching on some millfoil and other delicious pond treats.
Before packing up I had time to go back and finish up another coat of glaze. 
I love this place.